Gourmet Today, edited by Ruth Reichl, is a huge favourite among my daughters and I. All three of us enjoy good cookbooks and separated by distance as we are, it makes sense to each have a copy of the ones we love. And Gourmet Today is not your run of the mill cookbook. It has more than a thousand recipes, each one more mouthwatering and tantalising than the last. No photographs, coloured or otherwise, and just the occasional illustration to help you along. The recipes are very doable. Earlier i could not get ingredients for many of them, but now that it is easier (if still expensive) to access Continental and American ingredients, I am eager to try out as many of the recipes as I can. This Arugula Pesto Pasta in Cherry Tomato Sauce is one such recipe that has been enticing me for a while, and now I am sharing it with you.
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Making the Arugula Pesto Pasta with Cherry Tomato Sauce
A quick glance at the ingredients may make it appear a lengthy process to make the arugula pesto pasta. Actually it is quite easy as the steps are simple. I suggest that the pesto (or arugula puree as it is called in the Gourmet Today) be made first. Then while the water for the pasta is set on the stove to boil, the cherry tomato sauce may be started. Both the pasta and the sauce will be ready more or less at the same time. Whipping up the pasta takes minutes: just toss with the arugula pesto, transfer to a serving dish, and heap the sauce on top. Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese and have it hot.
While I have stayed with the proportions for the ingredients in the Gourmet Today, for making the arugula pesto pasta with cherry tomato sauce, I have made one or two practical changes. I had run out of my small stock of pine nuts and they are rather expensive in India, as well as difficult to track down. I therefore added pistachio nuts to the pesto instead of pine nuts. And similarly I used grated Parmesan for the pecorino Romano favoured in the cookbook.
The Arugula Pesto Pasta with Cherry Tomato Sauce uses dry fettuccine, and it is perfect when slathered with pesto and served with the burst cherry tomato. A short pasta may not work as well, as there is very little liquid in the sauce and hardly anything to slip into the nooks and crannies of the smaller sized pastas.
I plan to continue to cook my way through the Gourmet Today cookbook, or at least through its vegetarian recipes. With summer already here at Bangalore in March, I think I will go next for the salads and come back to the pastas in a while.
Some further posts you might like on this blog:
Pasta in Cherry tomato sauce and arugula pesto
- 4 cups dry fettucine pasta 8 oz or 300 gms
- 16 cups water for cooking pasta 4 quarts or 4 litres
- 1.5 tablespoons salt for cooking pasta
- 1 tablespoon Nuts The original recipe calls for Pinenuts. I have used pistachio. Walnuts may be used instead
- 3.5 cups Rocket/ Arugula leaves 2.5 oz
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Grated parmesan cheese or grated pecorino Romano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
For Cherry Tomato Sauce
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large Garlic clove
- 1 cup Cherry tomatoes about 12-15 cherry tomatoes about 170 gms
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese or pecorino Romano, finely grated
To make Arugula Pesto
- The pesto may be made a day ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator. Next day, bring the pesto to room temperature before adding to the pasta as in instructions below. 1. Toast the nuts (pine nuts or walnuts) in 175 C (350F) for about 7 minutes. Grate the cheese 2. Run the nuts in the food processor till they are finely ground without however becoming a paste. 3. Add leaves and slender stalks of arugula, discarding tough fibrous stalks. 4. Add olive oil, grated cheese, a little of the salt, and puree. The original recipe says puree till almost smooth, so you don't need to make it a fine paste but more like a chutney with some tiny bits and pieces of nuts in it. Taste and add a little more salt if required. Transfer to a bowl and set aside till required.
To make Cherry Tomato Sauce
- 1. Heat a wide pan and add the olive oil (on medium heat, till its hot but not smoking hot). 2. Crush the garlic and add, stirring till it is golden -about 1.5 minutes. Watch out that the garlic doesn't brown. The original recipe advises to discard the garlic, but I have retained it. 3.Add the cherry tomatoes and a little salt, and cook on a low flame. Stir every few minutes, till the tomatoes shrivel a little and begin to collapse. For me it took 15 minutes. Taste and add a little more salt if required.
To cook the fettucine
- 1. Bring the water to a brisk boil. Add salt and bring it back to a boil. 2. Add the dried fettuccine and cook as per package instructions, till al dente. 3. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot 4. Toss with Arugula Pesto. 5. Transfer to a serving dish and top the pasta with the cherry tomato sauce. Garnish with the grated cheese and serve.